Christmas is coming up soon and so are the super festive but also stressful weeks before the big day. If you are like me, you looove the weeks before Christmas with all the Christmas markets, cookies, and Glühwein-drinking, ‘Last Christmas’-singing weekends. The hardest part though, is finding the best Christmas presents for all of your family and friends. It’s like a video game where you are moving up one level every year. Instead of getting easier, finding the perfect gift is actually getting more and more difficult every year. Which is kinda weird considering you are getting more practice with every year you choose a gift. And it’s not like you all of a sudden forget what your friends like. On the contrary, you technically just know them better after all those years.
If you have some friends or family members who love to travel, giving them a travel-themed gift might be the way to go. Travelers usually love every excuse they get to go on their next trip. Finding the best Christmas gift for travelers is not exactly easy though. The simple nature of them being on the road means they cannot take many things with them. So anything you get them has to be small enough to fit in their backpack or suitcase, but awesome enough to bring a smile on their face when they unwrap your gift on Christmas day.
Finding a Sustainable Present: Difficulty Level 3,000
What’s making it even more difficult, might be the standards you or your loved one set for your presents. You might have just jumped on the sustainability bandwagon. Or you might have followed the zero waste movement for a little while already. Maybe it’s even the person you want to give presents to who cares a lot about the environment and you want to make sure they like your gift. Whichever it is, finding a zero waste gift automatically bumps you up ten difficulty levels. But don’t worry, I’m here to help!
Since each type of traveler is different, I have separated the tips into three different kinds of travelers. People hanging out at the beach most of the time prefer something different than your avid hiking friends. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered for all your adventure, city tripper or beach bum friends! And no, I will not suggest getting a scratch map of the world like all other blogs about traveler gift ideas out there..
The Hiker or Adventurer
1. Sustainable travel mug
Eco-friendly coffee mugs have become one of the accessories for people who care about the environment. While being seen with To-Go cups was a sign of a successful business career just a couple years ago, the tides have turned in favor of reusable coffee cups. If your friend loves going on adventures, he or she sure needs enough coffee to power through those long hikes.
KeepCup, an Australian company, has been one of the key players in the coffee cup market. They have a great range of reusable cups, and even offer customizable ones. Many coffee shops or universities even offer KeepCups with their own logo on it. Just think how stoked your friend is gonna be if they get one with the logo of their favorite coffee place on it! An alternative for people going camping might be steel travel mugs. I just got one from my sister for Christmas last year and I absolutely love it!
2. Experience for their Next Trip
Another great gift for adrenaline lovers is to get them an activity for their next trip. Activities could range from experiences like going white water rafting, bungee jumping, or husky sleigh riding to doing a cooking class for the calmer hearts out there. If you are spending a lot of time with your friend or partner, you probably know where they will be going next. You can simply do a little research of what experiences are available at their next travel destination, and voila, you got your gift!
If you don’t want to commit to a certain date yet, many times tour agencies offer vouchers. The best part: if you are going on the trip together, you not only have a great present but can go on the experience together. That way, you will create great memories together and form an even better friendship or relationship!
3. Beeswax Food Wrapper
This is one for all of your hiking friends out there. Beeswax food wrappers are a great way to keep your food fresh without using plastic wraps. They are super easy to clean and are reusable for about a year or more. While they are a little expensive compared to regular plastic wrap, people are usually a little resistant to spend that much money on them. That’s why I think they are a great Christmas present!
If you want to go all out and give your friends a homemade Christmas gift, there are even some tutorials online to create a beeswax wrap yourself. Yet even if you don’t have the time for crafts right before Christmas, most beeswax food wraps come with beautiful patters already. I would recommend getting them in several sizes so your friend or partner is fully equipped for their next adventure!
The City Tripper
1. Lightweight Water Bottle
I have recently upgraded from a glass bottle to a lightweight and foldable water bottle. What a game changer! If you go on a city trip, chances are you will be walking a lot. All that walking means you need to stay hydrated. I used to take a glass bottle with me to fill up during the day. Yet, glass bottles are not only quite heavy to carry, they also use up a lot of space in your backpack when they are empty.
Then I discovered foldable water bottles and fell in love! The one I have is made from silicone, which is BPA free and lightweight. Once the bottle is empty, you can simply roll it up and use that space for all the souvenirs you purchase. Best gift to myself ever! I can recommend this one, which is the one I am using, but there are tons of other companies out there. They are quite new, so if you want to win the price for the most innovative Christmas gift in 2020, this might be the one.
2. Gift Card for Their Next Destination
To be honest, I usually hate it when I get vouchers as a Christmas present. I would rather have a personal gift, where my friends spend some time choosing the perfect gift than a generic gift card for a random shop. However, I got a voucher for a lovely restaurant in Melbourne for my birthday this year and I honestly really loved it. So if you know the next destination for your friends’ city trip, consider getting them a gift card for a nice dinner there. It’s a perfect present to give as a group of friends, too. You can all just give the amount that you like and then buy a gift certificate for the total you collected. Unlike getting specific products or activities, vouchers are often not restricted to specific amounts.
You do have to put in a little bit of work though! One of the reasons why I loved that voucher so much was because it was for a carefully chosen restaurant that completely exceeded my expectations. Since I started to eat more plant-based recently, my friends got me a gift certificate for a hip veggie restaurant in a very cool part of town. So before you buy a random voucher, think about the food preferences of your loved ones and what kind of places they like.
But what do you get your friends if they don’t know their destination yet? Another great Christmas gift for the sustainable traveler is a voucher for a bus or train service. If they are based in Europe, Flixbus, for example, offers gift cards for their bus and train rides. If they don’t know where they are going next, what better present is there than enabling them to go on their next vacation?
3. Mobile Battery Pack
Millennials and Gen X people are gonna love this! Battery Packs mean your phone lasts longer and you can spend even more time on it! While I am not at all in favor of increasing the time spent on our phones, traveling is made a lot easier by them. We have maps showing us where to go, apps for public transport, a camera, can check reviews for restaurants on the go, and the list goes on.
I have noticed that my phone battery dies especially fast when I’m on city trips. Since we are so reliant on our phones, having it die on us in a foreign city may trigger feelings of anxiety. I actually made the experience of moving to a new city last year with a broken phone and it’s not easy to get around. If you want to give your friends that piece of mind on their trip, gifting them a portable battery charger is the way to go. I am using this one, and it can charge my phone up to ten times before I have to recharge it!
The Beach Bum
1. eBook reader
If your loved ones are the type of travelers who love to spend all day at the beach, what better gift is there than giving them something to do while they are sunbathing? When I have time to go to the beach, I love relaxing with a good book that I never find the time to read at home. I lately discovered the Kindle for me and it’s literally one of the best investments I made recently! As a traveler, it means I can take all the books I want to read with me without having to pay for an oversized luggage.
If you don’t want to spend that much money on your Christmas gift, the cheaper version is to buy your friends a book for their eBook reader. On Amazon, for example, you can simply purchase a Kindle book for your friend’s library. Alternatively, you can also just get them a gift card so they can choose the book themselves. Ever since I bought my Kindle, I have been spending an excessive amount on Kindle books. They are quite a bit cheaper than buying the paperback version, that’s how I’ve been justifying my increased spending. So having a person contribute to my books would have been a great gift for me!
2. Sustainable Beach Towels
What are the things you need most when going to the beach? A bathing suit, flip flops, and yes, a beach towel. Since bathing suits and flip flops might be difficult to choose for another person because of the fit, beach towels are the better choice. There are tons of different options for beach towels nowadays, from lightweight ones to the ones drying super quickly in the sun.
Personally, I am trying to buy more sustainable products lately, so the beach towels from Sand Cloud were sticking out to me. This company donates 10% of their profit to conserve marine life. Their products are also designed with sustainability and the travelers needs in mind.
If you wanna find out how great beach towels are for traveling, and what other things you can use them for, head over to this blog post.
3. Reef-Safe Sunscreen
The best Christmas gifts for me are products that I’ve wanted to buy for a long time, but found too expensive to purchase for myself. Bluetooth headphones are one example (also a great gift, albeit a bit more expensive). Another example, is reef-save sunscreen. If you haven’t heard yet, regular sunscreen from drug stores is oftentimes contributing massively to bleaching coral reefs. Since they are an essential part of our world’s oxygen supply, it is important to conserve them as best as we can.
That’s where reef-save sunscreens come into play. They are produced without any harmful chemicals for the ocean or your skin. Unfortunately, they are usually a bit more expensive than regular sunscreen. So if you go on a three-week beach holiday, buying enough reef-save sunscreen to protect your skin for three weeks may cost you a little fortune. The perfect opportunity to jump in as a friend, and just get your loved ones reef-save sunscreen for this Christmas!